WINDSOR, N.S. – This time, it was the dog that came back.
Dawn Mengering and her family thought they had lost their beloved pet forever when they moved to Windsor, N.S., from British Columbia last August.
It was a hard farewell. Thor, a lovable Bernese mountain-Australian shepherd cross, had been missing and presumed dognapped for almost a year, but the family had never given up hope.
“We went to the SPCA again to see if there was any word,” Mengering said Friday. “We went to the vet clinic and told (them) we were still going to have the same (phone) number.”
The last time anyone had seen Thor was in October 2014. Neighbours said they had seen two men call out to him when he was relaxing in the family’s backyard in Fort St. John.
The Mengerings were heartbroken. Not only was Thor their first dog, he had been a Christmas present for daughter Bronwyn, then 12.
They knocked on doors, postered the neighbourhood and posted on Facebook. They checked with the SPCA, their vet and Stolen Dogs 911.
“We probably spent six or eight months looking,” Mengering said.
“What made it worse was there were rumours going around there was dogfighting in our area. We still always hoped that somebody had taken him to be a pet, but you just never knew.
“It was horrible. (Bronwyn) would try to find Thor everywhere. Even in commercials, she would say, ‘Oh look! That dog looks like Thor!'”
Then the Mengerings moved. Hope faded.
But one day the phone rang.
It was their former vet in B.C., saying Thor was in a rescue shelter in High River, Alta. He had been found at a work camp in the northern part of the province and taken south by a man intending to adopt him. But the man was forced to turn him over to the shelter when he couldn’t keep Thor in his rented home. An ID tattoo in Thor’s ear was the link.
Thor was flown to Nova Scotia last week. The Mengerings picked him up at the airport.
“Thor was just lying in his kennel, head down, and my daughter walked over and she said, ‘Hey, Thor.’
“He shot up and his tail was banging against the kennel. We let him out and he jumped on her like he was giving her a big hug and he was licking her face. Then he flopped down at her feet and rolled over for a belly rub.
“It was beautiful.”
Ironically, the family had moved to a rental house where the landlord doesn’t allow dogs either. Thor now lives with Mengering’s sister-in-law in Dartmouth, about 60 kilometres away. Bronwyn receives daily updates.
“She’s already so attached to him because he’s such a great dog.”
As for Thor, he seems the same relaxed, friendly, cuddly fellow he was before his disappearance. Mengering said he shows no signs of physical or mental trauma.
“He’s in great shape.”
Thor, however, hasn’t revealed what he was up to during his missing months.
“If only you could know where he was,” Mengering said. “It would be interesting to see where he was and wh